For his most recent competition, Sam Mostowfi competed at the 2023 British Artistic Gymnastics Championships, where he qualified for the Horizontal Bar and Rings finals, and he previously became the British Floor champion after winning Gold in 2021. As part of Team GB, Sam has represented the country at senior international level at competitions such as the 4-Way Match in Switzerland, the 2022 DTB Pokal Team Challenge in Stuttgart, and the Varna World Challenge Cup in 2021, which marked his senior international debut. Also having a successful junior career, Sam competed at the European Youth Olympic Festival and the Junior World Championships in 2019, and he now studies at the University of Nottingham, which has seen him recently win Gold in the All-Around and Horizontal Bar, Silver on the Floor and Parallel Bars and Bronze in the Rings and Vault at this year’s BUCS. Later this month, Sam will be travelling to Cairo, Egypt, where he will be representing Great Britain at a World Cup Challenge. Catching up with us, Sam spoke about qualifying for the Horizontal Bar and Rings finals at this year’s British Championships, becoming the British Floor champion in 2021 and representing Team GB at major competitions.
You most recently competed at the 2023 British Artistic Gymnastics Championships, what was it like competing at the Exhibition Centre in Liverpool and how was it qualifying for the Horizontal Bar and Rings finals?
The atmosphere this year at the Exhibition Centre in Liverpool was electric and I was very impressed with the size of the new venue. Finishing 7th All-Around; I was generally happy with my performance, although a few mistakes in my Floor routine meant I didn’t qualify for the Floor final. Nevertheless, I managed to qualify for the Rings and H-Bar finals, which I was very excited about. Going into both finals, I knew my chances of medalling were small so I used the opportunity to add new skills into my routines which was very risky. However, I saw this as a chance to progress my routines and gain more experience and confidence under pressure. For me, this was more valuable than sticking to the same routines I could already do. Now going forward, I have already competed these new skills and will be firmly cemented into my routines.
What do you enjoy most about competing at the British Championships and how was it winning Gold on the Floor in 2021?
The British Championships is one of the largest national competitions of the year and one I thoroughly enjoy, it gives me an opportunity to showcase everything I’ve been working on in training and a chance to prove myself for potential international selections. My experience in 2021 becoming British Floor champion meant a lot because I made a lot of sacrifices in the build-up to that competition and worked very hard for it. It was nice to know all that hard work had paid off.
Can you tell us about competing at BUCS earlier this year, where you won Gold in the All-Around and Horizontal Bar, Silver on the Floor and Parallel Bars and Bronze in the Rings and Vault?
Having the opportunity to compete for my university as well as GB is a huge honour for me. The University of Nottingham and their team support me massively, not only with my education, but also with my sporting career. To be able to give back and represent them is very important to me and I feel proud to wear their colours. I was also able to gain BUCS points for our team helping with our overall rating in the league. It was a great experience for me and a good start to the year leading into competition season.
We understand you represented Great Britain at the Senior 4-Way Match in Switzerland, how was this?
The 4-Way Match in Switzerland was a friendly event against France, Switzerland, Germany and Great Britain. It was held just before the European Games in 2022 and was good experience for all of us. It was my first international coming back from a shoulder injury, so I only competed on four apparatus. I managed to compete well, however, due to the other countries sending their European teams, we narrowly came 4th. Overall a positive experience.
How was your time in Stuttgart at the 2022 DTB Pokal Team Challenge, where Great Britain came 4th in the Team event?
Stuttgart was a major team competition against some of the best teams in the world, it was an amazing opportunity for me as I don’t always get the chance to compete as a team internationally. We had a strong competition and a close battle with Germany for 3rd place, where we just missed out. However, I learnt a lot and was able to compete a lot of new skills on a big stage in my first proper senior year.
You made your senior international debut in 2021 at the Varna World Challenge Cup in Bulgaria, how did you find the experience?
This was my first senior World Cup Challenge for GB, which was a result of the hard work I’d put in on Floor in 2021. I managed to perform a clean routine which meant I qualified 8th going into the Floor final. This was a major achievement in itself and I knew going into the final I had nothing to lose. I placed 5th overall on Floor in my first World Cup Challenge giving me loads of confidence. Floor is one of my stronger pieces and I knew I wanted to push my difficulty going forward.
What are some of your favourite memories from your junior gymnastics career, which saw you compete at the European Youth Olympic Festival and the Junior World Championships in 2019?
Some of my favourite memories from my junior career are the kitting out day and opening ceremony from EYOF. Being given my own Team GB kit and meeting so many amazing athletes on our trip was definitely a memorable moment. I also got to explore Baku, which is an amazing country. It was a multi-sport event meaning we got to go watch other sports compete and was definitely one of my favourite competitions so far. The best way I can describe it is like a mini Olympics.
Do you remember how you felt representing Team GB at a competition for the first time?
I remember the first time I was selected to compete internationally for Great Britain. It was very overwhelming and nerve-racking; I was still very young. However, I had my personal coach come with me which meant I felt at ease when competing. It was in France and I remember winning the team event with my teammate Vic. I knew from then I was going to work even harder to get another chance like that.
Can you tell us about your training and how much has it changed over the years?
I currently train full-time in addition to doing a full-time university degree. I have two very supportive and experienced coaches in Nottingham, where I am based, as well as my personal coach from my original club Pegasus in Kent. This is where my family lives. Over the years, my training has changed as I’ve learnt valuable lessons that will stay with me for life. These include discipline and hard work; I do believe the harder you work the more it will pay off. When I left home, I had to adapt to self motivating myself on those days that I wasn’t feeling training and that’s something I’ve got better at over the years. I have a strict routine that my coach and I adjust to fit my training style. This depends on the time of year and our targets. Consistency is something I’ve learnt to be one of the most important things in and out of the gym.
Where does your love of gymnastics come from and how did you get into it?
I am originally from Brighton where I got into gymnastics at my local club. I started one day like a normal kid trying to find their sport and fell in love with it from a young age. I like pushing myself to limits and striking to be better and I think this is why I enjoy the thrill of gym so much. I also like the challenges I’ve been through, I believe it makes you a stronger person.
Did you have any favourite gymnasts that inspired you when growing up?
I would say looking at the 2012 Olympic team was the first time I remember really being inspired and wanting to be like them at an Olympic Games. As I progressed, being able to train with some of my childhood heroes became a normal occasion. All I can do is do my best and the results will speak for themselves.
Have you been given any advice over your time as a gymnast so far that has stuck with you?
Never give up, although it isn’t always easy; consistence and discipline will overall have a positive effect. I think also not worrying about what other people think is something I was told and has stuck with me. I believe everyone is on their own path.
How do you like to spend your time away from the gym?
With family, friends and university studies. Personal development outside the gym is something I’m very big on. I always believe you should have more than one thing going on at once.
Do you have any competitions coming up or have any that you are targeting that you can tell us about?
I am travelling to Cairo, Egypt for a World Cup Challenge for GB this week. I’m very excited to be competing internationally again. I am also pushing for the World Championships trial in August. And hopefully the Olympic trials next year.
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